By Siri Smith | @smitsiri
It happens every year. You open your inbox, only to find it’s clogged with reminders for you to fill out the Student Experience Survey. But all that time you’ve invested filling out those long answer questions about your current lecturer hasn’t gone to waste, the information has been collected from universities nationwide and it’s time to see just how happy students really are with the quality of their education.
The national Student Experience Survey for 2018 has shown four in every five students pursuing higher education across Australia are indeed satisfied with their studies and institutions.
The overwhelming majority of tertiary students rated their educational experience positively, with data showing 79 percent of undergraduates were happy with university life.
Students who participated in the survey rated their education according to varying levels of skill development, engagement, teaching quality, student support and access to resources.
Typically, students who studied in regional areas, were of mature-age or were facing disability due to financial or personal pressures formed the lower 20 per cent of students who responded negatively to the quality of their education.
The top reasons given by students who were considering leaving their courses included health problems, stress, location, commitment to paid work and financial strain.
We asked students at RMIT from a variety of courses what they thought about their educational experience and the results were predominantly positive, with most saying they felt very satisfied with their overall experience.
When asked about education quality, some believed there should be a greater focus placed on workplace preparation. Resources and support at RMIT seem to be in abundance according to students and most believed they had access to a large number of learning tools and services on-campus, though some were not sure where to find them.
Professional Communications student Vanessa Lastro said that while it is easy to make appointments to discuss course options and pathways, she believed mandatory biannual meetings for students and co-ordinators might be beneficial.
“I feel like I’m learning necessary and valuable things but there could be more emphasis on real world projects and transitioning into the workplace,” Vanessa said.
More access to industry specific equipment and study spaces is something Communication Design student Abi Trewartha would like to see more of in the future, although she did know where she could access other resources on campus in the meantime.
Media student Conor Brady said he was also aware of the resources available for his course, but hadn’t had the chance to use them for projects yet.
Bachelor of Communication Design student Julia Mancuso said she is satisfied with the education quality at RMIT, but would love to see her course put a greater emphasis on the expectations of the design industry, finding work after graduation and locating support services.
“A place to find resources relevant to our work would be helpful and in terms of mental health, I don’t know where I could go,” Julia said.
However, Information Technology student James Gale said outside of his course he could find support at RMIT services like the Job Shop that can help prepare students for life after graduation.
According to students across the city campus and the results of the survey, life at RMIT is pointing in a very positive direction, but there are some areas which may need improving. Most importantly however, RMIT students feel their university is laying the right foundations for a positive educational journey and is moving in the right direction.